Rokugan 緑緒

Rokugan (緑緒) is an imperial country. Rokugan is sometimes referred to as the Emerald Empire.

Rokugan is divided into various-sized provinces, each controlled by distinct groups. The largest groups, and the largest areas, are controlled by the clans of Rokugan — groups of families descended largely from a common ancestor who had inherited control over their respective tracts of land, as well as the people living on them.



Ryō (両)

Three types of coins are commonly used in Rokugan. The most valuable is the ryo, an oval shaped plate of gold about two inches by one inch. This is the basic unit of exchange for expensive items and large transactions. Each ryo is worth about five bu, a smaller silver coin. Bu is actually short for ichi bu no [silver], literally “one bu of silver”. A typical bu is a rectangle about one inch by three-quarters of an inch. Bu are used for the purchase of moderately expensive items such as furniture. Each bu is in turn worth four to five “strings” of zeni. These are small (3/4” diameter) round coins made of copper. They have a round or square hole through the middle and are commonly strung on cords to make cash strings. A standard “string” is 100 coins. Zeni are used for all manner of minor items, like tea and food. Whole strings are used for items like clothing or liquor.

For very large transactions either stacks of ryo or a forth coin, the oban, are used. Ryo are stacked in lots of twenty-five or fifty and wrapped in heavy paper. The stack is then stamped by the local magistrate’s office and ready for use. The rarely seen oban is a heavy disc of gold. In weight and value they are equivalent to forty ryo. Oban are often specifically cast for a particular transaction, and have pictures or text commemorating the event. They may become far more valuable as historical items than for their weight of gold.

Bu (一部の)

The reason that descriptions and exchange rates are given only in general terms is that each Clan mints their own coinage. The symbols stamped on the coins vary from place to place, as does the exact size and quality of the metal. Identifying the source of coinage and its relative value is just another part of the Commerce skill, a skill most samurai disdain.

Paper money is not in use in Rokugan, at least by samurai. Merchants sometimes use a system of paper IOUs amongst themselves. Samurai who hear of it consider the idea ridiculous.


Things that cost zeni:

  • A pot of tea.
  • A bowl of rice and pickles.
  • A plate or bowl.
  • A night in the stable loft.
  • Getting carried across a river.
  • One arrowhead.
String of Zeni

Things that cost strings:

  • A jug of sake or shochu.
  • A whole fish or special dish.
  • A nice mask or fan.
  • A room at an inn.
  • A palanquin around town.
  • Most peasant weapons.

Things that cost bu:

  • A bottle of fine sake.
  • A full gourmet meal with desert.
  • A pet bird or good table.
  • A suite at a good inn.
  • A palanquin from one town to the next.
  • A pack horse.
  • Getting a weapon sharpened.
  • A bundle of arrows.
  • A small piece of art.
Zeni (文)

Things that cost ryo:

  • A multiple course feast for a small group.
  • A sword stand or large inlaid cabinet.
  • An evening at a geisha house.
  • Palanquin and bearers from city to city.
  • A riding horse.
  • Getting a weapon polished.
  • A good knife, bow, or pole arm.
  • Ceremonial armor.
  • A diamond or small jewelry.

Things that cost a whole lot:

  • Entertaining a daimyo.
  • Furnishing a manor.
  • Courting a geisha.
  • Traveling with a full entourage.
  • A war-horse.
  • A sword.
  • A suit of heavy armor.
  • A minor nemuranai.
  • Failing your lord…
Ōban (大判) sitting next to a ryō
and gold bu


A samurai gets a stipend of money equal to ((Starting koku + Wealth rank) x Status Rank) + Glory Rank = seasonal income in ryo. If the samurai has the different school advantage, substitute starting koku with the starting koku of the school type of his clan.

Samurai are paid based on their status rank:

Ji-samurai (minor clans, hired ronin and ashigaru) are paid directly in rice equal to their koku value. They must then barter or sell part of this rice to have money to purchase other necessities.

Samurai of the buke caste (usually Status 1.0 to 6.9) will usually be paid in enough rice to feed their family and retainers, and the remainder of their stipend in coinage. They may then take their coins to the granaries of their clan and trade them in for rice as they need it.

Samurai of the kuge caste (usually Status 7.0 or greater) are typically paid entirely in coinage due to the large stipends they draw. The kuge control the rice stores and can access them as needed.


Taxes are collected and paid at the end of each season. Taxes are usually paid in koku of rice, although taxes may also be paid in jade, steel and other precious commodities.

How this all works, from the bottom up:

  1. Peasants do not have the right to govern land on their own, and hand over 100% of their rice harvest to the samurai governing their farm.
  2. The samurai governing the individual farms hands over 40-50% of this harvest, and in turn his stipend is paid out of this amount. A samurai might oversee as many as a half dozen farms in this manner.
  3. The provincial governor collects the rice from the samurai under their command, and pay approximately 40-50% of this rice to their family daimyo. Of the remainder, he must pay out his retainers.
  4. The family daimyo collects the rice from the provincial governors and pays 40-50% of this to the clan daimyo.
  5. The clan daimyo collects the rice from the family daimyo and pays 40-50% of this to the imperial tax collector to be stored in the imperial granaries.

So, just how much rice is this? The largest rice producing clan is the Crane (before recent events that is). On a good year, the Crane produce over one million koku of rice per season. Other clans produce from 300,000 to 600,000 koku of rice per season.

Aside from the usual taxes, all clans are required to tithe 33% of any jade production to the imperial coffers to be supplied to the Crab.

Clan Trade

The current roster of major trade goods for each of the clans is as follows:


  • Import: jade, rice
  • Export: steel, raw iron, stone


  • Import: exotic foodstuffs, raw materials
  • Export: fine goods, rice


  • Import: foodstuffs, fine goods
  • Export: steel, raw iron, paper, gold, minerals


  • Import: raw materials, seafood
  • Export: copper, rice


  • Import: raw materials
  • Export: silk, spices, citrus fruit, pearls, exotic seafood


  • Import: exotic goods
  • Export: silver, lumber


  • Import: raw materials
  • Export: information, rice


  • Import: finished goods
  • Export: exotic goods, horses, rice
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